Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Game 14 Thoughts

i walked into last night's game thinking that i wouldn't be satisfied unless the birds won by 20 points... and the birds delivered a 20 point win. and yet i can't help but feel a complete lack of satisfaction about last night's win. maybe my expectations are too high. maybe i'm seeking perfection where it's unreasonable to seek. i can't tell exactly, but the only thing i can really say is that i find this team maddening. simply maddening.

i should probably be smacked for being underwhelmed about a 30-10 victory. really. the eagles covered the 14 point line, and even before you consider style points, 20 point victories are pretty rare in the nfl.

so i should have no basis for being disappointed about a 20 point victory -- the exact margin of victory i was seeking prior to the game -- and yet i am.

why am i disappointed? i can't identify one single factor that's driving this, but here are a few thinking points:

- due to some combination of injuries, lack of talent, poor coaching the browns were clearly not in a league with the birds last night. while the game was never in doubt at any point, the birds never really put them away. there was no kill shot. they built a big lead, but it was workmanlike and took more effort than it should have. the birds could, and more importantly, should have put the brown away in the first half. but didn't.

- donovan mcnabb looked like the best QB in the league last night between the 20s. he was throwing darts into very tight spots last night. as soon as the team crossed the 20, not so much? why does this happen? is it donovan? is it the playcalling? is it the o-line?

brian burke, who runs the advanced nfl stats blog, thinks that differences in QB red zone performance vs. non-redzone performance are random... and if you look, mcnabb underperformed in the red zone in 2007, but his 2008 red zone stats are pretty consistent with other parts of the field.

- the eagles had two turnovers at the goal line. two turnovers at the goal line against the woebegone browns. this is not an insignificant thing. why did the eagles call a fake wildcat pass? it was a completely unnecessary play. sometimes it's like andy can't help himself. most people complain that he is not creative enough. in fact he is too creative! just play football. why take risks when the risks are unnecessary?

- crossing the goal line. what is it with players on this team dumping the ball before crossing the goal line? there needs to be accountability. they wouldn't get away with this crap if belicheat was the coach.

the bottom line is the bottom line, and yes, this was a win, a dominant win even. however, it didn't leave me with a feeling that all is well. possibly the biggest reason why that disappoints me is that there is no great team in the nfl this year. if they could just get their heads on straight, why couldn't this eagles team be the one that gets hot at the right time -- ala 2005 steelers and 2007 giants?

other thoughts:

- what did the replays look like on the westbrook dive at the end of the first half? did the ball cross the plane? why was there no review? it looked like the eagles were expecting the ref to stop the clock for a review that never came.

- the o-line pass protected incredibly well last night. best i've seen all season. i'm sure a lot had to do with the opposition, but if they can protect like that moving forward, this team can go very far.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Phil said...

I think the problem is that everyone thinks this team is better than it is. People decided to give up on this team back in October and when they show periods of dominance (NYG, ARI, last night) they can't be happy/excited about watching a team win games because they're cheesed off about "what could have been". As TMG points out, not even a 20 point win is good enough because is "could have been" 30 or 34 points.

This is a case of nothing being good enough. Ever. If beating the best team (11-1 at the time) ON THE ROAD isn't good enough, then what possibly could be good enough? Bumble and crew have given up on Reid and literally nothing short of a SB win will satisfy them. And frankly I doubt even that would be enough because it'll be painful for them to watch style-wise.

I enjoyed the game last night. I liked watched 5/36 march up and down the field. I liked seeing Akers put a couple kick-offs into the endzone. I liked watching Bradley run around tackling people left and right. I liked watching 36 and Backett chase down the INT and save a touchdown. This team is playing their fannies off right now. If you can't appreciate and enjoy this, then you're everything that's bad about Philly fans in my opinion.

Go EAGLES!

3:49 PM EST  
Blogger Steve72 said...

The replays showed pretty clearly that Westbrook did not cross the goal line.

10:27 AM EST  
Blogger Behan01 said...

I had the same thoughts as Phil about the level of expectations. Fans see the flaws of their own team and it understandably drives them crazy. What they don't see is that the whole league is full of flawed teams, especially this year with Brady out and the Pittsburgh offensive line Achilles heel.

This year every team has to roll the dice and hope their weaknesses aren't exploited at key times. The frustrating thing for the Birds is they put themselves in a position with no room for error, so it's hard to imagine them getting all the way.

It was hard to imagine the Phillies manhandling the Brewers, Dodgers, and Rays in succession though too. As they say in soccer, sometimes you hit a rich vein of form, other times you're Tottenham.

10:59 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have given up on 70% pass happy Andy reid. if after 10 years he finally sees the light and commits to running the ball (including getting another RB who can spell B Wes, a legit FB, and a willingness to pound the rock even when you get stuffed early), then I am on board with him. Otherwise, this little run-against an awful road Cardinals team, a suddenly fragile Giants team, and a bottom of the league Browns team-is pure smoke and mirrors. News flash, they struggle big time Sunday. McNabb never seems to light up the Skins and the weather is supposed to suck, so unless Red goes hard on the ground, this is within 3 very late.

Bumble

7:09 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

Bumble, that's exactly what I don't get. Shouldn't it all be about the winning (well, as long as you're not doing it with thugs)? I'm being 100% serious when I say this: if you can't be happy when a team is winning, then you really shouldn't be following the team. You're just setting yourself up for disappointment win or lose.

2:36 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me it's about winning first but a close second is recognizing the winning as a by product of a good system. Then the winning becomes sustainable and repeatable. I like the teams with an identity-Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Giants, Titans, New Englad, Panthers all have a "we're gonna punch you in the mouth 100 times a game and if we have 101 plays, we'll punch you 101 times". I like my football nasty and based on the core functions of running the ball and stuffing the run. Reid runs a finesse team, which I loathe. When they win, I am Ok with it, but it's really a house of cards that has too many variables (good weather, constant good play from his QB) and until they see that you must run and stop the run to win, then I am merely waiting for the other shoe to drop and I expect losses to the Bears, Bengals, and their division. This team could easily have the same record as the Giants right now and be safely secured a playoff bid, but instead they farted around with a shoddy system and lost to a bunch of teams they should've beaten while not beating anyone they should've lost to.

I am not a blind fan who says "gee whiz gang, everything's all hunky dory, the old squad won!" I am a realist. i see huge cracks in their foundation and I am unsure if the cracks can be oatched or the foundations needs to be replaced. That doesn't make me a bad or fair weather fan. KIt makes me a knowledgeable football guy who longs for a style that successful teams that aren't mine run.

Bumble

7:49 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

Bumble, you say that winning only matters then go and list all the reasons why you don't like this winning team. I know a little bit about football and am willing to critisize this Eagles team when necesary (tie to CIN), but come on. No team is perfect (even your vaunted NYG).

And I don't buy the whole style argument one bit. For every PIT or CAR out there you've got a DEN or OAK or DET who try and pound the rock, yet can't seem to get any wins. If style's so important, why can't they be consistantly good too? The other side of the coin is that NE hasn't been a beast the past 5 years because of their running game. Far from it.

10:44 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well for one they aren't a winning team. I told you they'd struggle this game. Horrendous game plan by Red, another small performance on a big stage by McFragile, another horrendous case of the dropsies by the WR, and a defense clawing and fighting to keep them in it. Another year, another time watching the playoffs from the sidelines.

You knew from their first offensive series today theyw ere doomed. No ryhthm, no continuity, no heart. Part of it is a QB who pulls a Jekyll and Hyde act in big games, part of it is a fragile RB who, while a great weapon, is NEVER healthy in stretch time, and part of it is a terrible offensive scheme where you make it easy to defend you.

This team is what it is and as I predicted, about .500. They beat up bad teams, lost to good teams, and hung around long enough to give the appearance of being good but really just being OK. Now is the time. Burn it down, bring in new blood at QB and Coach and GM and rekindle the flame. Not only does this team underachieve, but godammit are they boring. You cannot tell me this wasn't one of the biggest snoozrs you ever laid eyes on today, Phil. Style counts my friend. Win first, but if I'm going to give up 3 (or mor elike 4 with all the damned commercials) hours to watch them, entertain me. Throws me a frickin' bone.

Bumble

8:28 PM EST  

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